It's the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball's rookie sensation. Since he was born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.
Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order's "Blue Monday" drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory. As Trent's feelings move from casual to serious, he's faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery to figure out who he really is and what matters most.
©2014 Brad Boney (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
The Eskimo Slugger is a fitting final piece to Brad Boney's circular M/M romance trilogy as it is a both a sequel to 2nd book, The Return, and a prequel to the first book, The Nothingness of Ben. The way the stories are written TNOB can stand alone and makes sense even without the others. Unfortunately, it is the weakest book of the 3 [I would rate it 3-4 stars] but you may want to REread it AFTER the other 2. The Return is an excellent book [4&5 stars], definitely the best of the three and it both expands on people & events in book one and gives you information that is really important to book three [The Eskimo Slugger].
The Eskimo Slugger is a really good book [a solid 4 stars]. Some people may find some of the M/M elements to be TMI, but I think this info enhances the realism of what is a M/M romance with spiritual/fantasy elements [depending on your beliefs]. I don't think this book would be as enjoyable on its own and should only be read third [or at least after The Return]. The climax of the story is very intense even though you know what is going to happen by then; and really, I could only deal with it Because I knew what was going to happen. The change in narrator isn't a problem [from the other 2 books], both give 4 star performances. This book is a very enjoyable "read" and both enhances and completes the stories of this trilogy.
Trent is a baseball player from Alaska, thus the name Eskimo Slugger. He’s at the top of his game when he gets injured and ends up spending two weeks in Austin, TX. There he meets Brendan, a law student/record store clerk. They start as friends but once Brendan tentatively asks Trent “Is this a date?” the two acknowledge the deeper aspect of their blossoming relationship. The two immediately set sparks off one another, though neither has ever had a gay relationship before.
With some pretty funny forays into gay sex, the two explore each other and a relatively unexplored aspect to their personalities. For Brendan, being gay is something he’s pondered but been afraid of, but with the right incentive he embraces the idea and eventually decides to incorporate into his life fully and without secrecy.
For Trent, being gay means possibly (probably) the end of his career, certainly the end of his life as it stands currently, and though he’s always known he was gay, he has never let himself entertain the idea that he could actually live as a gay man.
Brendan enlists the help of Stanton and Hutch (from The Return) as “gay mentors” and together, with Bill Walsh (from The Nothingness of Ben) the group bonds, smoke a lot of weed and begin to form relationships that even death won’t end.
Ultimately, Trent has to make the biggest decision of his life: Choose baseball or choose Brendan. Perhaps the two can be together, but probably it’s one or the other.
By now you should have read the first two books (The Nothingness of Ben and The Return). If you haven’t – go! What are you waiting for? Technically this could be a standalone, I guess, but it won’t make a heck of a lot of sense and will leave you very unsatisfied.
If you have read the other books you know that the end of this book is really the beginning of TNOB. That, Brad Boney, is an amazing feat! Mr. Boney has managed to create this beautiful circular set of books that literally bleeds one into the other so that (as a reader) you want to just keep going round and round the merry-go-round.
I found myself referencing both of the earlier books time and again with the “treasures” that were revealed throughout this book. Without completely giving away all the secrets just know that the MCs of all three books are inter-related in various ways and little bits of their stories, past and present are slipped in throughout the story.
In The Return it was all about music – fast paced facts and quips, with Slugger it’s baseball. For me, the music was more interesting, but if you are a baseball fan this will really hit home. (See what I did there?)
I didn’t like the love story as much in Slugger as in The Return or TNOB, probably because it happens so quickly. I just never felt the emotion – especially from Brendan. Trent was invested, you get that feeling so strongly. Brendan was too standoffish for me and it made me a little sad. But… since I know what I know about how things end… he’s forgiven ☺.
I really, really enjoyed these books and was sad to see it end. I can’t say for sure, but I think that if I were to recommend a reading order I would say start with The Return, then Slugger then finish with TNOB. There may be something “missing” with that order, but I think, ultimately, it will be so much more satisfying. Or… do as the author may have intended and read it : TNOB, Return, Slugger, TNOB… and so on and so on…
Just a fantastic book all around, 5 of 5 stars and for the series 6 of 5!
Michael Ferraluolo did an excellent job with this! I adored Charlie David and was disappointed he didn’t narrate this, the third of the series. I think the continuity would have been great. But… Michael didn’t disappoint with his performance. He has a great voice that is easy to listen to, did a nice job differentiating the characters, really got into the emotion of the story and even managed to do a nice job with the female voices.
All in all I am sticking with 6 of 5 stars for this in either book or audio form!
This book is an excellent addition to the first two books in this series, The Nothingness of Ben and The Return. We finally get to find out the connection between Stanton, the Walsh's and the link between characters past and present.
This novel was narrated by a different voice actor than the first two, however I immediately felt comfortable with Michael Ferraiuolo's characterizations of the book's main players and thought he did a magnificent job. The book's tempo was spot on. No part of the book dragged nor did it gloss too quickly over important happenings. For me, this Brad Boney book was just spot on.
I really empathized with the main character, Trent. I felt that he had always been more interested in pleasing others and keeping his true self hidden. Brenden on the other hand is more confident with who he is, albeit somewhat inexperienced. I found Brenden to be a little unrealistic at times, which is why I only scored the book four stars for story and overall. Something seemed a little amiss with how forward and confident Brenden was given both his inexperience and that he clearly had a crush on Trent the baseball player before he met the real person. I didn't think someone like Brenden would be quite so confident meeting an idol. I also found Brenden to be a little 'standoffish' at times as though he wasn't quite as committed as Trent.
However, I listened to this book in record time and highly recommend it to anyone interested in quality gay fiction. Brad Boney has delivered a most interesting and extremely clever trilogy which comes full circle from book one to the end of this novel. To get the most from this book, I think readers definitely need to read The Nothingness of Ben and The Return first though. It will be a far better overall experience if you come to this novel already aware of what happens 30 years or so after the time in which this novel is set.
This is Brad Boney at his finest. He had a tremendous talent for weaving several stories together at once, but the reader doesn't necessarily know that. Then at the end, it all comes together. Boney had a tremendous talent, he doesn't disappoint in this third installment of this series that began with The Nothingness of Ben. I highly encourage anyone to listen to The Nothingness of Ben and The Return before reading this book, or else the ending will not make sense.
I didn't enjoy this narrator as much as the one he had for his other books. but it was still an enjoyable book.
Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!
Lots of problems with this one and I ended up DNFing at 68%.
I'll start out by saying that I think I picked a bad choice for my first Brad Boney book.
Many people told me that this book is best read after a couple of others (The Nothingness of Ben and The Return), neither of which I've read. I guess they are loosely a series, but they aren't marketed that way. Nevertheless, I had a number of issues that I'll go into detail about.
I'll start with the narration. This book is very heavy on the dialogue. Most of the book is the two MCs talking back and forth, which is great, GREAT, if only I could differentiate their voices at all. AT ALL. The narrator used the same/similar voice for both MCs and I honestly got the two characters mixed up for my entire listening experience. I kept thinking to myself, "Trent is the baseball player right?? So he is the one with the friend who... no wait, I think that is Brandon talking... or maybe that IS Trent..." It was too jumpy back and forth for me with this particular narrator. He had a pleasant voice, but I had a hard time following, which really affected my decision to DNF.
In terms of the plot, I found it to be a bit dry and also more than a little confusing. There is a lot of baseball talk, and a lot of discussing of feelings and philosophies, which is great in small doses but became too dull for my tastes. The confusing aspect I chalk up to not knowing any history of these characters due to the fact that I hadn't read the others in the so-called series. I really wish the author would at least write in the description that this book should follow the others, or link them formally together, because it was just a hot mess of secondary characters and phrases that I felt like should have some importance or foreshadowing but meant nothing to me.
All in all, I just sort of gave up on this one. I think that if I had read the others in the series or had read this in ebook form I would like enjoyed it a great deal more.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
"didnt realise it was part of another story"
yes, names and places need rethinking
though I didn't know it is part of 'the return' and 'the nothingness of ben'.. once I realised it was heading that way and who the characters are the story takes on another dimension ..
yes indeed, not wanting to spoil, but knowing their plans for the future can never be, puts a different slant on the story
I had to think about buying this book for a while. then decided to give it a try. at no point did I realise it is tied in with others.. when one character names a character from another book (Stanton Porter) I felt somewhat 'disappointed', why can authors not come up with new names.... (mr clune - the queen and the homo jock king).. then as it started to dawn on me that the character actually was part of the story I realised who the two main characters were, I realised I knew the ending.. it certainly puts a different slant on everything.. the characters, how they all fit, even the two unborn babies.. all in all a good story once I understood...
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